WEARSIDE’S new industrial revolution moves a step closer today, with the opening of car parts supplier Vantec’s massive new warehouse.
Vantec Corporation President Akira Koyama was due at the site, next to Nissan, this morning to mark completion of the project by painting in the second eye of a Japanese Daruma doll. The first eye was painted last year.
The £22.5million, 421,000 sq ft warehouse will create more than 300 jobs and is the first project to be completed in the new generation of UK Enterprise Zones, announced by Chancellor George Osborne in 2011.
There are already 140 people working from the warehouse, rising to around 200 by April.
Mr Koyama said: “Less than 10 months ago I announced from this spot that Vantec was to begin building its largest-ever overseas project at this site. The transformation in such a short time is remarkable.
“The new warehouse is already helping Vantec Europe secure new contracts and expand its workforce by more than 300 jobs in less than a year.
“We are delighted Vantec continues to receive strong support from Sunderland City Council and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.”
Vantec Europe provides warehousing and logistics to Nissan in Sunderland, Komatsu in Birtley and Cummins Engines in Darlington. The company was awarded £2.7million from the second round of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) to support the warehouse project.
Sunderland City Council worked closely with Vantec on the RGF application and expansion plans. The new building will complement Vantec’s existing 148,000 sq ft warehouse close by in Cherry Blossom Way.
Sunderland City Council leader Coun Paul Watson said: “Vantec’s new warehouse is an ambitious project which echoes our city’s world-class ambitions to be Europe’s automotive hub.
“The new jobs created by Vantec are the best possible news for the city, the region and the UK.”
He added: “It is uplifting to be here to see the tangible results of major investment in Sunderland, and hear that the building is already reaping rewards for Vantec Europe.”
The North East Local Enterprise Partnership manages the Enterprise Zone. Chairman Paul Woolston said: “It’s great to see Vantec’s new warehouse building open for business.
“The North East, and Sunderland in particular, is already a hugely important area for the UK’s automotive industry.
“The city’s ambitions are enhanced by this development, and we are working hard alongside the city council and partners to build on this success by attracting new investors to the region.”
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “This is good news for Sunderland, and testament to the potential of Enterprise Zones to deliver growth across the country.
“The Government is fostering local enterprise and creating the conditions for businesses like Vantec to further invest and thrive in low tax, low regulation Enterprise Zones.
“This means businesses can have all the incentives they need to grow their local economy and create new local jobs.”